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BioNTech CEO says new COVID-19 vaccines will likely be needed next year

PAUL SACCA October 03, 2021 JOEL SAGET/AFP via Getty Images

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The CEO of BioNTech SE — the German biotechnology company that developed the first COVID-19 vaccine in a partnership with Pfizer — said a new coronavirus vaccine would likely be needed next year. Ugur Sahin — co-founder and chief executive officer of BioNTech — told the Financial Times on Sunday that a new COVID-19 formula could be necessary by mid-2022 to combat new strains of coronavirus that evade booster shots and the body's immune defenses. Sahin also stressed that the new vaccine isn't needed at the moment because he claims that the current COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the delta variant. “This year [a different vaccine] is completely unneeded," Sahin said. "But by mid next year, it could be a different situation.” Sahin — who has a net worth of $10.9 billion — noted that new COVID-19 vaccines could be needed next year because the coronavirus will "eventually develop mutations that can escape the immune response bestowed by the vaccine." When that happens, a new "tailored" vaccine will be reportedly needed to specifically target the new strain. “This virus will stay, and the virus will further adapt," Sahin added. "We have no reason to assume that the next generation virus will be easier to handle for the immune system than the existing generation. This is a continuous evolution, and that evolution has just started.” On Thursday, a